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The Steel Alliance this month unveils an unprecedented five-year, $100 million consumer marketing campaign in the U.S. and Canada.

"It's an effort to educate consumers to the benefits of steel," said Mark Stephenson, executive director of the coalition of more than 70 North American steel producers, suppliers and affiliated groups.

Commercials, with the tagline "The new steel: Feel the strength," begin running May 10 during the NBA playoff telecasts.

A 30-second spot features a montage of people in everyday life to the tune of "You Gotta Be," by Des'Ree. Four 15-second spots are dubbed "minidramas" and illustrate steel's safety, durability, recyclability and strength. Print ads will appear in magazines including Fortune, Life, People and Sports Illustrated.


"This is an historic alliance. The steel industry has always been very competitive with one another," said Roy Spence, president of agency GSD&M, Austin, Texas. "They've finally realized the rising tide will lift all the boats."

The campaign from GSD&M aims to build on consumer recognition of steel's qualities by touting both the evolution of the material and its strengths.

"Consumers do consciously make choices about steel when they, for instance, purchase a car, or go to the grocery store for canned food," Mr. Stephenson said.

The U.S. steel industry has spent about $50 billion on modernization since the mid-1980s. The U.S. imported about 15 million tons of steel last year. Domestic production was 100 million tons.

"This [campaign] is not about who gets a bigger slice of the pie," said Mr. Stephenson, but "about making the pie bigger."

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